EDITOR'S NOTE: The combined reporting and brain power of the entire Military.com/Defense Tech/DoD Buzz team was brought to bear last week to compile a report card for President Barack Obama's first 100 days as it related to the military and national security. I invite you to read the excerpt here and continue with the comprehensive story on Military.com. And I'd also be interested to read your opinion on his performance so far.
In his campaign for president, Barack Obama pledged a swift end to the war in Iraq, a new commitment to the defeat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strong emphasis on veterans' care and military families and a critical look at Pentagon spending, strategy and conduct in the war on terrorism.
Since his inauguration 100 days ago, Obama has made good on his promise for sweeping change in the military, a new tone in the White House's relationship with troops and a personal investment in easing the burden of military service.
But so far his record has been met with controversy, both for its marked consistency with the policies of George W. Bush and for its radical break from the past that some see as reckless.
Obama was quick to apologize for American conduct in the war on terrorism and relations with some of its allies during his trip to Europe in early April. He called for "mutual respect" toward Iran, which commanders in Iraq say supplies deadly roadside bombs to insurgents. And he has agreed to the release of reportedly gruesome photos of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, an action that some insiders claim will worsen morale in a military service only now recovering from the tarnished public perception stemming from that terrible chapter.
Likewise, in his first 100 days Obama has met several times with veterans organizations to assure them of his personal investment in their care. He's taken on the largest defense firms with a sweeping Pentagon budget reform that slashes costly programs at a time of economic turmoil. And he's proven immensely popular with troops in the field; for instance, last month he was given a standing ovation from those serving in Iraq even as he asked them for continued long-term commitments to Afghanistan.
And Obama hasn't needlessly rocked any boats during his first 100 days either, keeping Robert Gates as Defense Secretary, holding off needless controversy over a hasty repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" sexual orientation policy, and continuing the Bush administration's controversial strategy of fighting al Qaeda and Taliban forces with covert Predator drone strikes in Pakistani territory.
-- Christian, Colin, Bryant, Greg and Bryan